Consolidated Customer Service: CRM, BPM and ECM

Things take time! We at ISIS Papyrus propose a consolidated ECM, CRM, BPM solution since 2001! Since then we do full process support with state/event driven models and since 2009 we even do BPMN. There is however no process without content and content (=communication) without process you don’t need. There is also no customer relationship without communication (=process). Therefore Adaptive Case Management (ACM) as the consolidation (NOT integration) of ECM, BPM and CRM to create a singular, holistic view of the customer, is not as radically new as it seems to be!

Forrester Analyst Kate Leggett researched customer service problems caused by a lack of a singular customer view. Lauren McKay produced a short summary. I largely agree with the problems faced, but I do not see that orthodox BPM can provide a satisfatory solution. BPM might make the problem worse.

The fragmentation into ECM, CRM, and BPM silos causes the inability to improve customer service business processes. Customer service process need to gather customer information, business data, a complete history of previous interactions, and – mostly forgotten – all the related inbound and outbound CONTENT usually spread around the business. A customer service process also needs to interactively CREATE content and thus needs the ECM functionality that analysts describe in the Customer Communications Management (CCM) market.

Today most firms do not integrate their inbound and outbound customer communication channels: phone, email, chat, CONTENT and Web. Customer information is completely out of context and therefore service agents use multiple applications to resolve each customer issue. Sometimes processes are enforced and standardized through CRM tools and while apparently these are executed correctly, they MIGHT NOT SATISFY the customer. Also some apprearing problems cannot be resolved because of exceptions that can’t be handled in rigid processes.

  • BPMS do need substantial analysis, implementation IT support and governance to run and  are not at all AGILE. Therefore to support customers in a sensible way one has to provide ADAPTIVE PROCESSES.
  • ADAPTIVE means that the service representitive can perform the process as needed for each individual customer and not just as it has been designed.
  • ACTORS can actually change and shape the process. They are EMPOWERED to create, modify, cancel, reset, reuse or delete task and activity items in a process.

If a customer service process is not strictly defined how will it ensure satisfaction?

  • What directs the process towards completion? Simple, GOALS defined in the process!
  • What makes the process efficient? Goal rules that measure SLA values.
  • What makes an adaptive process compliant? Boundary rules!
  • What ensures customer satisfaction? Including the customer into the process.

SO? Is it really Business Process Management that can come to the rescue of CRM? Actually, NO! BPM makes the problem worse. Customer service and problem resolution are knowledge work and not automated, standardized procedures. It is those procedures that cause the dissatisfaction. BPM DISABLES and binds the customer service decision-makers who need to IMPROVE the service experience from a customer satisfaction perspective. Knowledge work cannot be encoded into business rules and process steps to govern a customer interaction. Customers are individuals and their problems are as individual as they are and they do not want a pseudo-automated service robot on the other end of the phone!

CUSTOMER-FOCUSED, PERSONAL SERVICE requires that the user drives that interaction and not the process. The process must only provide guidance, collaborative information sharing and free-flow execution between many possible service and resolution tasks. That cannot be performed even by the most dynamic and ad-hoc BPM solutions, but only by an adaptive process environment that empowers the actor to take any action and include any resource (man or machine) to resolve the problem.



Consolidated View of the Customer - ECM, CRM and BPM


GOALS must not be just defined OUTSIDE the process!

The key to create processes that are unstructured and unpredictable and can still be guided towards effective and efficient resolution is GOAL-ORIENTATION. Goal orientation is not just an external definition, but it becomes the driving and guiding element for all processes and process milestones. Goals can link processes together and have simple or complex goal fulfillment rules.

What benefits do goal-oriented, adaptive processes provide to customer service:

  1. A completely consolidated user interface that must include access to all historic and current content. With the Papyrus Platform there is neither deeper integration nor GUI front-end coding necessary.
  2. Provide the customer web-access to the service case or query customer perception: Rather than a long improvement cycle it is essential that the customer is linked into the process and can immediately SHARE IS PERCEPTION about the quality of the service.
  3. No need to standardize processes, because a library of service GOALS with alternative resolution options us made available to the service agent. Standardization reduces the service quality and is only a cost reduction approach.
  4. Capture agent knowledge without analysis by letting them perform the processes AS-IS and then improve them. The Papyrus User-Trained Agent will perform recommendations to the actors based on previously executed processes. There is no formal learning or knowledge program necessary as it is embedded into the actual process execution!  The software is able to distinguish between different channel, product and service classes and perform the various goals and their activities in the ideal sequence.
  5. Process-embedded RULE support in natural language: As I already documented in the book ‘Mastering The Unpredictable’, it is essential to provide a consolidated RULE CAPABILITY inside the process engine. These are mostly needed for data validation, boundary rules for compliance and for goal rules. Rules compiled into the process do not satisfy those needs.

Adaptive Case Management is ’empowerment technology‘ that focuses on the WHY and WHO and not on HOW, because that knowledge is ‘between two ears only’. (Peter Drucker)
ACM is about communication and process as ONE! ACM provides the platform for the high-value, unique and skill or knowledge intensive customer service processes. That is where customer loyalty is being created and maintained.


About Max J. Pucher

I am the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Papyrus Software, a medium size software company offering solutions in communications and process management around the globe. I am also the owner and CEO of MJP Racing, a motorsports company focused on Rallycross or RX, a form of circuit racing on mixed surfaces that has been around for 40 years. I hold 8 national and international championship titles in RX. My team participates in the World Championship along Petter Solberg, Sebastian Loeb and Ken Block.
This entry was posted in ACM, BPM, CRM, ECM. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Consolidated Customer Service: CRM, BPM and ECM

  1. Pingback: What would YOU do for your own business? « Welcome to the Real (IT) World!

  2. Pingback: Case Management | 0xcafebabe's space

Comments are closed.